Can a wood burning fire be consider as a green alternative ? I'm
confused, I was checking out comparative fuel cost on the The Solid
Fuel Technology Institute website and it would appear that wood logs
cost the least and have the lowest carbon emissions per kW.
Optimistically - burning wood is carbon neutral.
It can even be carbon positive with the right woodburning stove, as
the methane (a more potent greenhouse gas than CO2) that would
otherwise be released to the atmosphere from rotting timber is burnt
in the stove.
Practically there are aspects like transportation etc, so the carbon
impact is smaller than other fuels but not zero.
Oh - and you can get 2 lots of warmth out of them. One lot when you
chop them, and another from burning them;-)
All the local schools are being converted to this at horrible cost of
£60,000+ each, so it must have something.
It seems based on that burning cheap quick growing local wood
introduces a zero footprint cycle. The growing wood locks away a
quantity of co2. Burning the same wood releases the co2, and around
I am not sure about the validity of the model whoever. :(
Wood use can be carbon negative as increased demand for wood can lead
to conservation, replanting etc.
This increases the amount of fixed carbon which otherwise would have
been in the atmosphere as CO2.
Iron making was originally wood fired and conservation/replacement was
well thought out - it's usually in places where timber is not valued
that de-forestation takes place. So steel tool production can be
carbon negative too
Throw in horse/water/wind/human/sun power, water transport by canal
or sail, wood based transport by cart/carriage, wood fuelled steam
engines, more use of timber in buildings, and you have a busy
industrial life which would be quite sustainable without fossil
We would also have a delightfully forested environment to support the
demand for wood. We'd probably have to go veggie as meat is very
wasteful of land, but we could catch the odd bit of game in the new
Meat production takes about 10 times the energy of veggies - so we
could just about do it!
More like the level of civilisation when these conditions were last in
place - at the beginning of the industrial revolution before the major
use of coal and well before oil. Not too bad in the late 18th century
- factor in our present knowledge of science, technology, medicine etc
and things could be even better.
Coincidence - if true at all.
Large areas of the planet are being de-forested for meat of fodder
production so it might kill us all off in the end.
I'm not a veggie BTW but I wish everybody else was it'd help save the
TRy growing veggies in the tundra or in forests..much easier to eat the
deer that can digest the lichens we cannot.. Ditto savannah. we cant
digest grass, grazers can, We can digest grazers.
Agriculture for *crops* takes FAR more energy of the fossil fuel kind
than meat. YOU try harvesting a ton of potatoes without any mechinical
assistance, versus killing a ton of beef. And teh by products of beef
production are so much more useful. Leather for shoes, glues for
furniture, gelatin for jellies..what do you get out of a field of whet?
straw for making rooves with at best.
Twaddle. That was the most unremitting poverty and peasant style grind
alleviated only by the occasional decent meal of MEAT. At a population
level about one tenth of what it is today, and with loads of coal and
iron ore available to make tools with.
Not too bad in the late 18th century
Nothing can replace the fact that incredibly hard physical labour, and
its detrimental effects on our health and longevity, has been replaced
by machine power, allowing us to expand our population tenfold. Without
machines 90% of us are dead, and the remaining 10% condemned to a life
snentence of hard labour,of which you cannot possibly imagine the nature.
Life will kill us all in the end. Its simply a question of how many will
be able to live off what's left over, and in what sort of lifestyle. And
in company with what species.
The present world population levels are simply unsustainable.
Unles we go massively hi tech and nuclear.
It wouldn't. The planet will be allright. We won't. Going veggie changes
We garden a reasonable vegetable garden. Given the difference between
the digging, planting, weeding, fertilising and harvesting of all that,
which is very hard work, and simply archery-ing a deer to death and
having meat for a week, I know which uses the least energy!
I am all for hunter gathering, but you can stick your veggies and
agriculture up Uranus.
It remains simply a way to create and extend a peasantry whose lives are
those of unremitting toil, poor diet and utterly limited stimulation. Th
esole requirement for a peasant to stay in business, is the ability to
produce another snivelling brat before he or she dies.
Now the world is awash with them. However it cannot last much longer.
So why don't you keep a deer or two instead of breaking your back
weeding and fighting off the slugs?
The answer in part is the energy 10% - you'd need 10 times the land to
live off meat alone.
There is a crude ratio of 10 between solar energy input per unit of
food material plant/herbivore/carnivore i.e. a carnivore effectively
takes up 100 times the solar energy per unit mass compared to a plant.
I had in mind a post modern, nouveau pauvre, neo-peasant i.e. life as
a self-sufficient peasant but with some of the benefits of modern life
- and of course a fair distribution of wealth.
You try living off woodland. I can't. Deer can.
Its the removal of forest to make way for crops that is causing half the
worlds global warning anyway, accoording to the greenies.
Well worth it for the tatse alone I'd say. How long would you exist
living on grass/bark anyway?
There is no fair distribution of wealth. Unfair distribution of wealth
and industry is what got us out of the grueling poverty trap that
agriculture put us in, in the first place.
You need wholly undeserved leisure time at someone else's expense, to
develop art, literature and science. In a marginal labour based economy,
no one has it unless they take it in an unfair way.
Round here we have the modern equivalent of peasants. People who work
the land. It takes an intense amount of work and a lot of machinery and
a devil of a lot of science to extract enough crop from the acreage to
even stay in business.
If you are prepared to accept a 20 hour working day, and a population
level at something like 1/10th what it is, physically burned out by age
50, and no leisure at all, then it can be done as you describe.
Otherwise I suggest you emigrate to Bangladesh, and try it out for
yourself. I haven't seen much science, art or literature, let alone
medical advances or anything coming out of there ever.
Socialism per se has one basic flaw: It concentrates solely on slicing
the cake. No one is permitted to sit there with their feet up pondering
on how to bake a bigger cake.
The only truly ecologically sound lifestyle is the hunter gatherer. At
population density about 1% of what it is today.
Well I did more or less that..by simply stopping working as all debt was
paid off.. I slashed the outgoings by more than 15k a year.
Suddenly car usage down for 15-25k miles a year to less than 8k a year.
Expenditure on 'suits' dropped to zero.
No need to eat, out drink at the pub, and take expensive foreign
holidays when not stressed out by Work.
Use less hot water (no need to shower every day or more) but more spent
on heating the house.
What else could I lose? all the junkmail..about half a bin a week. All
the packaging on the food..another half bin a week. In fact its probably
true to say that better than 90% of all our waste in teh bin is
packaging or junkmail, most of which is absolutely uncecessary.
Everything that can be, is composted.
the irreducible minimum of personal energy use goes to heat the house -
by far the biggest single item - and in transporting in the stuff one
needs to live on. Online shopping and using the village shop helps..its
more efficient to have stiff delivered than it is to collect it
yourself, and often cheaper.
A fair bit goes on lighting and electrical stuff - fridges and TVs and
If the whole country adopted an online stay at home/ work from home
lifestyle I would say we might save 30-40% of the energy. Domestic
robberies would probably vanish completely, along with urban congestion.
However saving 30-40% of the energy really isn't worth pissing around
with.We need to come down to 10% or less if we stick with carbon fuels.
There isn't enough land area of quality to grow enough food for the
nation even if we all went veggie, and certainly not if its being used
for biofuel, and/or people keep looking greedily at farmland and
muttering 'low cost houses for wurkahs'
Ultra energy efficient urban housing and no car ownership at all might
enable us to get down some more..but there is simply npo way we can ever
go back to the sort of per capita net carbon emmissions of 300 years ago
without a dramatic drop in population levels.
In short the only real answer is nuclear power - lots of it. Wind power
is not that reliable..its there when its not needed and not there when
it is..OK it might be that some sort of home based massive battery packs
could absorb it when e.g. the grid voltage rises (showing spare
capacity)especially into the 'tanks' of electric cars..
The reality is that in the short term all one can do is piss with the
details, and try an engender some savings by getting rid of commuting
and working from home wherever possible, and shopping online as much as
possible. In the medium term nuclear fission electric is the only really
viable alternative, and in the longer term fusion of some sort. For this
Its a lot easier to deal with 50 tons of radioactive isotopes for ten
thousand years than with 50 million tonnes of CO2 for 10,000 years..
On 16 May, 13:08, email@example.com wrote:
Wrong question really.
We should ask; how can we cope without fossil fuels and their by
products, as supplies run out and CO2 reduction is seen by all as
unavoidable and essential for our survival?
I think that at least in the short to medium term biofuels are the
obvious solution, not least because we have in recent years seen an
increase in the number of deisel vehicles on the road which can burn it.
The problem is where to get the biomass. The problem is there is simply
not enough arable land to both grow food and biofuel. However in New
Zealand a biotech company has developed a method to extract biodiesel
from algae grown on sewerage as part of its treatment. The left overs
from the oil extraction can be a feedstock for ethanol production (on
which petrol engines can run). AFAIK there has been one successful trial
of the biodiesel in a car running a 50/50 mix. A trial on full biodiesel
So the bigger the metropolis, the more shit, the more shit the more
fuel. So you are turning agricultural produce into fuel, but only
indirectly. In rural areas farmers with a slurry problem suddenly have a
slurry solution that will make money. The carbon costs of transporting
fuel also just about disappear. In town in can be piped to fuel
I see nothing to stop this becoming a reality. No major modifications
are needed to the transport fleet. People employed in refineries can
relocate to sewerage farms.
Add my middle initial to email me. It has become attached to a country
They are not, because there is insufficient land area to generate the
Biofuels are very handy, because they can go into the same general
distribution strategy that oil companies make vast profits on. Nuclear
electric leaves oil companies as fossilized dinosaurs with nowhere to go.
Hence the HUGE push on biofuels - and indeed hydrogen.
Oil companies do the chemical fuel thing. Oil companies have billions to
spend on espousing whatever messagge they care. Hence last year
hydrogen, this year biofuels. Its largely bollocks. I did eh sums, and
after diesel used to f=grown and harvest the crop, the 10 acres of rape
behind the house would probably just about keep three couples like us
supplied..and that was without electricity too. 1.5 acres a head of
prime agricultural per annum?. Do the sums..
All good stuff but nothing like the scale needed.
Youll be telling me next that actually like cattle, humans are basically
wasteful of energy, and we should turn human food directly into biofuel,
without the humans, and save the planet.
Scaling up and the numbers.
All energy is ultimately nuclear. Chemical energy just happens to be an
easy way to access it in stored format. You probably get a better
conversion efficiency from a few solar furnaces in the desert than you
would from processing biomass.
The really key issues is that there isn't enough *usable* sunlight
falling on the *usable* areas of the UK to ever make it self sufficient
on either food or energy at the population levels that exist today.
So, import energy, go nuclear or let the population die.
Whilst it is conceivable that we might be able to exist as a post
industrial society on 50% of current per capita energy, 5% is simply not
doable in the short to medium term.
yet compared with agricultural biomass plants, much of the
infrastructure for this is in places or should be for water quality
reasons. It could also make processing waste self funding.
No, we are however like cattle not very efficient at extracting energy
from our food (yes I know we have an obesity epidemic, nevertheless). I
forget the efficiency of the human gut but it is not high, and if your
diet is rich in fruit and veg even less so (all that fibre). I have not
actually seen estimates of how much energy you can get out of say a city
of 300,000, I doubt they are quite that far on.
I have also read about a project to use the heat and CO2 output of a
coal fired station to similarly grow algae for biodiesel and bioethanol
production. That process is apparently energy neutral though there may
be some solar/wind input too. Compared to the Carbon costs of finding,
exploiting transporting, refining, transporting again etc oil it looks
from a carbon budget p.o.v. a big reduction. Even if it is only a
partial solution, it is likely to be a big portion implemented properly.
At the moment we are taking all that biomass and pumping it out to sea
or into rivers. Biomass is a technically useful fuel source through a
variety of processes, so it would be sheer madness NOT to exploit it.
Add my middle initial to email me. It has become attached to a country
The ones that will release their carbon as the climate changes you mean?
Seems sewerage isn't the only biomass resource the folks back home are
From a byproduct of wool and sheepmeat production, tallow.
Add my middle initial to email me. It has become attached to a country
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